Irina Pantaeva is a model, actress, designer and former beauty queen. She is the only Soviet-era born woman to lay claim to the title of supermodel. And she is also the first ethnically Asian woman and the only ethnic Buryat to also fall into the category. She was born on born October 31, 1967 in Ulan-Ude, Buryat ASSR, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union.
At 21, Pantaeva began working as a model for designer Larisa Dagdanova. In 1988 she participated in the designer’s fashion show in China. In 1989 the Soviet Union elected its first Miss Soviet Union to represent it at the Miss Universe Pageant. Pantaeva competed in the Miss Ulan-Ude pageant and won the title. Though she would audition and get a role in the movie, Vozvrashhenie Xodzhi Nasreddina, she never closed the door to modeling. In 1991 she was cast to participate in the Moscow fashion show of the legendary French couturier Pierre Cardin! With that achievement under her belt, the big time would soon follow.
In 1992 Irina Pantaeva made the decision to relocate to Paris. For her it was a natural progression and the first real step to making it big as a model in Europe. Her instincts were proven right when the top modeling agency Marilyn’s signed her to a contract. That led to a casting with Karl Lagerfeld, who chose her for the Chanel haute couture show. Keenly aware of the short lifespan of a top model, she made the decision to move to the United States. And in 1994 (and after a three-year wait), she relocated to New York City.
During that time her face became a signature in New York’s bustling fashion scene. Between the “Big Apple” and the “City of Lights”, she scored runway shows for some of the industries biggest names on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean including Christian Dior, Versace, Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler, Issey Miyake, John Galliano, Yves Saint Laurent, Anna Sui, Chloé, Kenzo, etc.
In 1997 she became the first Asian woman to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition. And she also appeared in the in the Pirelli calendar. As one of the hottest names and most recognizable faces in modeling, she appeared on the covers of Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. She also was featured in international campaign for Calvin Klein, GAP, Levi’s Jeans, Kenzo, Missoni, etc.
Being in the eye of Hollywood was just one of the numerous perks and privileges that came along with be a supermodel and especially being one in the 1990’s. Pantaeva took full advantage of it to further her acting career. In 1997 she scored the role of Jade in the film Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. In 1998 she appeared in Woody Allen’s dramedy, Celebrity. She then appeared in 2001’s As Far as My Feet Will Carry Me and even scored a small role in the wildly popular film Zoolander (2001) starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and fellow supermodel and Milla Jovovich. This pleasure of a movie poked fun at the lives of male supermodels and over-the-top fashion designers.
In 2002 she had a role in Miramax’s People I Know, starring Al Pacino, Kim Basinger, Ryan O’Neal and Tea Leoni. Now a regularly “working actress”, she continued with appearances in NBC’s 3rd Rock from the Sun, and had a feature role in the off-Broadway play Jewtopia.
In her personal life, Irina Pantaeva is the mother of two sons: Ruslan born in 1989 and Solongo, who was born on December 21, 2003. She is now an American citizen. In 1998 Avon/Bard published her autobiography, Siberian Dream: A Memoir. And she launched a jewelry line called IRINA. She enjoys aerobics, designing, traveling yoga, skiing, martial Arts, basketball, singing, cycling, dancing and figure skating.
Height: 5 feet 10 in
Weight: 133 lbs
Age Range: 30 – 45
Hair Color: Black
Hair Length: Long
Vogue (Spain), Paper (USA), Vogue (Singapour); Photo, Interview, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Joyce, Alto, etc.
Adrienne Vittadini, Anna Sui, Betsey Johnson, Carolina Herrera, Chloé, Christian Dior, Ellen Tracy, Erreuno, Gianni Versace, Givenchy, Hervé Leger, Issey Miyake, Jacques Fath, John Galliano, Kenzo, Krizia, Missoni, Salvatore Ferragamo, Stephen Sprouse, Thierry Mugler, Vivienne Tam, Vivienne Westwood, Yves Saint Laurent.
Anne Klein, Bedgley Mischka, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Dana Buchman, DKNY, Ellen Tracy, Emanuel Ungaro, GAP, Issey Miyake, John Frieda, Kenzo, Lafayette, Levi Silver Tab Jeans, Michael Kors, Missoni, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue, Tommy Hilfiger, Vivienne Westwood.
PEOPLE I KNOW | Dan Algrant/Miramax, USA
ZOOLANDER | Ben Stiller/Paramount, USA
CELEBRITY | Woody Allen/Miramax, USA
MORTAL KOMBAT ANNIHILATION | John Leonetti/New Line, USA
AS FAR AS MY FEET WILL CARRY ME | Hardy Martin/CFP, Germany
TESTIMONY OF AN EYEWITNESS | P. Pazzessere/Medusa, Italy
RETURN OF HADJA NASREDIN | R. Liblick/Gorky Studio, Russia
SIBERIAN DREAM – Cine Golden Eagle Award 2004 | Producer/Gardner Group
Oprah Winfrey Show | Harpo Productions
Keenan Ivory Waynans | Disney/FOX
Extra | NBC
Inside Edition | King World
Access Hollywood | NBC
VH-1 | MTV Networks/Viacom
Supermodel | E! Entertainment
Style | CNN
Mornings on 2 | FOX
Models Homes | HGTV
Weekend Today in New York | WNBC
Good Day Philadelphia | FOX
AM Philadelphia | ABC
Hard Talk | BBC, England
Big Breakfast | BBC, England
Nulle part Ailleurs | Canal Plus, France
Big Today | Fuji TV, Japan
World Business Satellite | Tokyo Channel 12, Japan
News 23 | Tokyo, Japan